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Thursday, March 28 • 1:30pm - 2:50pm
Creative Insight: Using Art + Critical Design Practices for Libraries Future Thinking

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Art and design librarians are uniquely situated to creatively reframe issues that challenge all librarians. Artists and designers are encouraged to think critically about the status quo and use visual practices as tools for exploring contemporary issues. By engaging with radical art and design methodologies, we can shift normative approaches to librarianship. This interactive session will introduce participants to specific art and design movements that can be adapted for innovative problem solving and future thinking about libraries.

The Situationists International (SI)'s dérive and Fluxus are two art movements that have proven to be useful in asking questions differently. The SI dérive, or drift, according to Guy Debord is a "technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects." This artistic movement was central in the creation of the annual bibliodérive event, which is a collection of generative, open-ended actions, or situations that disrupt the traditional use value assigned to the library and even to the very concept of research itself. From these events, librarians have reframed and adapted traditional approaches to librarianship by incorporating aspects of the dérive into their practice.

Critical design challenges conventionality by posing troublesome problems in order to encourage reflection and consider alternative futures. Work that falls under this category are reactions against consumerism, capitalism, and unheeded scientific and technological development. Practices such as speculative design, design fiction, parody or exaggeration, and para-functionality are employed to create works that confront legal, cultural, and social norms. These objects and stories act as prompts for discussion and debate about hypothetical, but perhaps possible, realities. In librarianship, critical design is used to examine current paradigms and approaches to library spaces and services, uncovering assumptions about what a library is and what a librarian does.

In the session, after discussing the history of these movements, the presenters will lead an open-ended conversation and creative exercises that will allow participants to investigate library issues such as library architecture and space, administrative practices, user services and engagement, and cultural constructions of ideas about libraries and research. No previous knowledge of art or design is necessary, just an open mind and willingness to collaborate. Outcomes from this session will be used to generate a deck of cards that librarians can use for applying radical art and design methodologies to librarianship.

URL to Session Documents: shorturl.at/ac456

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will learn new ways to apply art and design methodologies to their library practice.
  • Participants will explore alternative approaches to issues surrounding library spaces and services.
  • Participants will apply innovative thinking towards future library instruction, spaces, and services.

avatar for Ashley Peterson

Ashley Peterson

Research & Instruction Librarian, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

avatar for Mackenzie Salisbury

Mackenzie Salisbury

Information Literacy Librarian, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Thursday March 28, 2019 1:30pm - 2:50pm MDT
Grand America Hotel: Grand Ballroom A (1st Floor) 555 Main St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111